“Hope Gap” is a new film starring Annette Bening as an English woman going through a divorce after three decades of marriage. It is set in the small coastal town where she lives, and this is a very scenic location. Bening’s performance is very strong, and she has also gotten positive recognition from critics who point out that, although she is an American, she has been able to use a believable English accent to portray her character.
The end of a marriage
The film starts with Bening’s character and her husband at their seaside home. She grows nervous and apprehensive when her husband invites their grown son to join them, and she is expecting some kind of announcement from her husband. She is still blindsided, however, when he tells her that, after three decades of marriage, he is going to leave her for a younger woman. The viewer knows this is coming because we have seen the husband prepare his goodbye speech beforehand.
The husband says that the marriage has grown lifeless and that he is no longer in love. Bening’s character, for her part, blames him for the stale routine and essentially accuses him of being a bad husband. Afterwards, the husband follows through on his threat and departs.
The protagonist moves forward
Much of the film centers around how Bening’s character copes with divorce in the days after it. For the most part, she does pretty well, but it is a mixed reaction. She acquires a dog, for example, so that she won’t be alone, and this is a good sign, but she names him after her ex-husband, which indicates that she is dwelling too much on the past.
On the positive side, she starts to do volunteer work on a hotline for people who need to talk, and this helps her move forward. At one point, she makes the interesting observation that women who are divorced unexpectedly by their husbands go through much of the same grieving and anguish that widows do, but they aren’t view favorably by society. Again, Bening does a fantastic job of portraying a flawed but sympathetic woman who is coping with a landslide in her personal life.
Husband and son
The departed husband is not as major of a character as Bening’s character. He clearly doesn’t care as much about his marriage as Bening’s character, and when he has the opportunity to bail out, he does. If he regrets this, the viewer doesn’t see it. The son, on the other hand, is disturbed by how callous his father is, and he takes a good look at himself in order to determine if he is the same kind of man.
In conclusion, this is a story focusing on middle-class adults going through a time of crisis. There is nothing unusual about their story, yet the acting and screenwriting are so strong that the viewer is pulled in. Basically, it’s a film about real life and moving forward.